Simon Fraser University retires ‘Clan’ name from all athletics teams

Simon Fraser University has moved on from the ‘Clan’ name for all of its varsity teams, including football.

Following an extensive stakeholder engagement process, SFU president Andrew Petter made the decision official on Wednesday:

I am writing to inform you of my decision to change the name of Simon Fraser University’s varsity athletics teams, following an extensive stakeholder engagement process. Through this process, launched in January of this year, we have heard resoundingly from our community – and particularly from the student athletes, coaches and associated staff – that it is time to select a new team name.

There are a number of reasons for this change, but the single most important factor influencing my decision is the views of student athletes on this matter. Through our engagement process, students shared stories of unsafe situations, upsetting conversations, and the harm they experience due to misinterpretation and/or misuse of the team name. As a university that has made it a core commitment to foster a supportive environment for our students, we have an obligation to attend to their voices and concerns.  

As we move away from using the Clan as our team name, I want to stress that we continue to be exceedingly proud of the people, teams and accomplishments associated with the Clan over our long history. The Gaelic word for family was chosen to honour friendship, loyalty and connection, commitments that remain deeply engrained at SFU.

I am very grateful to those who shared their opinions with us. And I want to express my special appreciation to our student athletes, coaches and Athletics and Recreation staff who advanced this issue and worked toward a decision. The conversation has been difficult for many, and I acknowledge and appreciate your determination and fortitude. 

It is time now to look forward. In the years to come, we will be hosting games in our new stadium, proudly wearing a team name that represents our vibrant, diverse, compassionate community. The process to choose a new team name will be led by Athletics and Recreation.

Simon Fraser listened to the community – and particularly the student athletes, coaches and associated staff – and decided it was time to select a new team name. SFU remains proud of the people, teams and accomplishments associated with the Clan name over its athletic history. Until the university has a new name in place, they will compete under Simon Fraser or SFU.

The university will launch a process to choose a new name in September. It will focus on guiding principles and belief that the name should reflect shared values, inspire unity, and be a source of pride. Student-athletes, coaches and staff will help form the new team name and it will be selected by the end of 2020.

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